Sean Patrick O’Malley is an American cardinal serving as the Archbishop of Boston under the Catholic Church and is a member of the Capuchins. He was considered to be Pope Benedict XVI’s successor before Pope Francis was chosen.
He was born on June 29th, 1944 in Lakewood, Ohio but grew up in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania. He joined St. Fidelis Minor Seminary, a boarding school at age 12 where he graduated and went on to attend Capuchin College and the Catholic University of America where he graduated with a master’s degree in Religious Education and a doctorate in Spanish and Portuguese literature. O’ Malley was ordained priest in 1970 and consecrated in 1984 by Bishop Harper.
Some of his work include:
O’Malley started the first Spanish newspaper in D.C. called El Pregonero, and also opened a Spanish bookstore in the same area.
He was made the Episcopal vicar of the Portuguese and Haitian communities in 1978. The vicar was later knighted in the Order of Infante D. Henrique by Portugal in 1985 for his service to the Portuguese. In 1985, O’Malley succeeded Bishop Edward John Harper as the Bishop of Saint Thomas after Harper resigned. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta named him an honorary chaplain due to his service to the homeless people and people living with AIDS.
In June 1992 he was appointed Bishop of Fall River, Massachusetts. The bishop was later appointed Bishop of Palm Beach, Florida. In both places, Bishop O’Malley tried to settle sexual abuse scandals, thus earning the name “fixer.” He succeeded Cardinal Bernal Law, the Archbishop of Boston in 2003, who resigned following sexual abuse scandals.
O’Malley is the cardinal-priest of Santa Maria Della Vitoria. He is also a member of both the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and Congregation for the Clergy. Also, he is a member of the Presidential Council of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
He is the first cardinal to have his blog and offers regular podcasts. O’Malley can participate in future papal conclaves up until his 80th birthday.
O’Malley received criticism from conservative Catholics when he participated in the funeral of Senator Ted Kennedy who was a supporter of legal abortions. He has settled over 101 sexual abuse cases and has a zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse. In 2006, O’Malley and leaders of Catholic charities of Boston, a charity that offered adoption services program, ended their adoption program after failing to get exempted from the state’s anti-discrimination statute that required them to place children in the care of homosexual couples.
In 2016, he was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry, Portugal.